System resources to run a game
1) What is the minimum hardware you can get away with? Especially,
how much disk space does a game take up?
Assuming that the machine is dedicated to Blind galaxy, just about
anything that the code can be ported to will do. On a lightly loaded
Sparc-10, running SunOS 4.1.4, a "worst case" forecast/order check
takes roughly 1 minute (this is for a player with 70,000+ Ind, and
generating "Long forecasts" on 1500 lines of orders). Turns for
that game took ~10 minutes to run (most of which was spent waiting
for the inefficient disk IO bound report writing, and datafile
read/writes). A more reasonable number is ~30seconds for forecasts,
and 5 minutes for a turn (possibly less if the code is compiled with
optimization turned on). Several people are running games on 586's
Linux. I did most of my development work and testing on
a Sun IPX, Sparc 5, or Sparc 2- very low end boxes by today's
worst case- datafile will on occasion reach 600K, execuatables
~300K each for Blind and blind.dbg, (~600K with debuging
symbols turned on), reports ~900K each (if there is a major
battle, everone is there, all have long forecasts on, etc)
to 1000K [I've seen this happen maybe once per game].
average case- datafile 100K/300K/450K (early, mid, and late game),
reports 100K each (but you don't need to have them
around after you mail them out).
pathalogical worst case- In the endgame of a 80 turn or longer
game, battles between huge forces can consume more.
In this case, reports can grow to several megabytes do
to all the shots being fired. The blindrc file can get
similarily bloated. Run time memory use in this one
case was ~80M. As battles involving ships with 0.01%
or so chances to hit are fairly rare, I wouldn't
concern myself with this.
I save 5 turns of back reports, all forwarded messages and orders,
all blindrc files (1 per turn). Using zip (or some other good
compression program [gzip, zoo, not Unix compress]), a game takes
up less than 10M between turns, and uses an extra 4-5M while a turn
is in progress. A disk starved GM could get away with 2-3M if they
did one report at a time (<2M if they write reports to stdout,
which they pipe to mail directly).
2) How much Email can a GM expect to have to deal with?
This depends on a lot of factors. If one has automatic forwarding
of messages (or disallows them), less than 5 messages per week
over and above orders once the game is running [say, past turn 10].
Things occasionaly break (or change) when new releases (or
bugfixes) are installed. This can generate a few more questions from
your players. Player experience levels, and mail/system
stability/accessibility also contribute. Having Howard in your
games generates an occasional message too, as he updates you with
newest set of bugs (err, code).
3) What tools are useful? I know procmail does the job but are there
MH's slocal is also of use and can do most of the same stuff as
procmail. The blind source comes with a server (but the less said
about that piece of dung, the better) built around MH (but not
using slocal for various reasons).
4) Has anyone got the turn checker right yet ;-) ?
Blind galaxy has had a order checker since V2.00 (November 1992),
and a sometimes stable forecaster since V2.33 (August 1993). The features
added in a given realease of it sometimes take until the next
release to get working 100% right, but if all you want is sanity
checking on your orders, it works right 99.9% of the time.
Since the code for the forecaster and the main program are both
compiled from the same souce code, it is pretty much the case that
what the forecaster says will happen, is what will happen (provided
no one else submits orders (:-) )
Back to my Blind